|26 November 2013|
|"If you are going to face such a great team, you have got to be focused during the whole game, because if you make only a small mistake, they will always punish you immediately" - Good Angels Head Coach Maros Kovacik |
When Good Angels Kosice welcome UMMC Ekaterinburg, it will be a big match-up in more ways than one claims home coach Maros Kovacik.
The Kosice play-caller is looking forward to his team being backed by a huge crowd after the club opted to switch to a bigger venue for the arrival of the EuroLeague Women champions.
"It's always a kind of big basketball holiday for us to play against UMMC and this isn't just a phrase, but evidenced by the fact we will meet them at the Steel Arena in Kosice with 8,400 seats," explained Kovacik.
The coach is acutely aware that there will be no margin for error for his team when UMMC arrive and so far, has been happy with EuroLeague Women outcomes - if not the previous display against HAT-AGRO Uni Gyor.
He said, "If you are going to face such a great team, you have got to be focused during the whole game, because if you make only a small mistake, they will always punish you immediately.
"Because of this, the way we begin this game will be very important.
"Overall, we have started well as we won the first two games and so we are satisfied with the results.
"The game against a Kayseri Kaski spor team with a very smart coach was really tough and we are happy that we took a win.
"On the other hand, our performance in the second game was far from ideal. All of us probably underestimated Uni Gyor a little bit, plus Gyor played well and it was the reason why we were struggling in the game.
"There are a lot of things to improve, but our players are working really hard every single day and personally I am happy to be a coach of this group of players," added Kovacik.
"We try to help them in improving their abilities and they are helping us to see basketball from their on-court view.
"I think we have beneficial co-operation from both sides."
Whether Kovacik can mastermind a victory against the champions or not, his opinion of Group A remains unchanged and with Tango Bourges struggling and Beretta Famila Schio flying, it further underlines how difficult it will be to make the play-offs.
"This really is still a group of death and it's still too early to analyse how the group will develop," mused Kovacik.
"Schio's victory in France surprised us, but I don't think it's a tragedy for Bourges, because they have a very strong and well-balanced team.
"They showed their power in their previous game against UMMC."
|It is rare that Candace Parker is not an 'x factor' in any game she plays |
Form Guide: UMMC have already won the SuperCup Women, are perfect in the Russian League, have reached the semi-finals of the Russian Cup and won both their EuroLeague Women contests so far with a road victory at HAT-AGRO Uni Gyor and narrow home success to Tango Bourges. The hosts meanwhile have beaten Kayseri Kaski spor on their travels and Gyor on home soil. They are unbeaten in the Slovak Republic League and have lost only once in the Middle European League, to currently be sitting top with 11 wins.
The Hot Hands: Both Plenette Pierson and Candace Parker have continued their rich vein of form from last season and it's almost like the summer never happened. They haven't missed a beat for their respective teams. Pierson is averaging 27.5 points and 11 rebounds per game and Parker has been just as dominant with 16.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, also leading in both steals and blocks.
‘X Factors' & Match Ups: Pierson and Parker are likely to go head-to-head in the "4" spot and that in itself could be a real treat. There is an added incentive for Belarusian veteran Yelena Leuchanka to try and perform in the paint for Kosice against her former team, whist Silvia Dominguez and Miljana Bojovic are two of the premier playmakers in the competition and should be fun to watch. UMMC have been awful from the free-throw line and it could bite them in a tight game, whilst both teams have been off-target from downtown. Perhaps somebody will finally light it up from the perimeter and that could be a telling factor.
Did you know? Good Angels have won their last eight home games and UMMC have won their last eight games in the competition. UMMC have never lost a EuroLeague Women contest against a team from the Slovak Republic. Additionally, the legendary Maria Stepanova needs just one point to reach 2500 points and become only the fourth player to pass this stellar landmark in the competition.